Welcome to Put-in-Bay! Population: 138.
A charming village located on South Bass Island that is commonly recognized for its festive nightlife, Put-in-Bay is exclusively accessible only by boat or plane. If you’ve never heard of this Midwestern hidden gem located in the heart of Ohio’s “Vacationland”, then let me introduce you to what this tourist-friendly town can offer.
If you have heard of or have even been to PIB, then I hope you enjoy this list of what to do while exploring this delightful Ohio destination. Either way, go ahead and hop on the Jet Express and venture swiftly across Lake Erie to explore the “Key West of the Midwest”… Put-in-Bay:
1. Rent a golf cart and/or bike!
It’s THE BEST way to explore South Bass Island! As soon as you get off of the Jet Express (the fastest + most convenient way to get directly to Downtown Put-in-Bay, with connections from Port Clinton, Kelleys Island, and Sandusky), you’ll find Island Bike & Cart Rental.
2. Eat at a really good restaurant! Here are our recommendations:
- – Breakfast: Pasquale’s, Frosty Bar, Village Bakery & Cafe
- – Lunch: The Keys, Reel Bar, The Boathouse, The Forge
- – Dinner: The Boardwalk/Upper Deck (get the lobster bisque!), Goat, Soup & Whiskey, The Crew’s Nest
- – Treats: The Dairy Isle (get a smoothie!), Candy Bar
3. Bar hop and see some live music!
This is what Put-in-Bay is known for! Drink a margarita at The Keys, put your feet in the sand + swing while sipping a mojito at Mojito Bay, or rock out to some live tunes at Round House Bar (open since 1873), just to name a few. Also, during the day, find yourself a sweet pool bar if you’re really looking to have some fun!
4. Get a taste of Ohio wine at the wineries!
There are two in Put-in-Bay: Heineman’s Winery and Put-in-Bay Winery! Both offer a unique experience and tasty wines.
5. Watch the sunrise… and the sunset!
You can see the sunrise from Perry’s Memorial and the sunset from South Bass Island State Park. We caught a stunning glimpse of the sunset from The Boardwalk Restaurant.
6. Explore the caves!
Crystal Cave is the world’s largest geode which was discovered under Heineman Winery and Perry’s Cave is just across the street, is a natural limestone cave which also boasts a rare Underground Lake.
7. Take a stroll through De Rivera Park in the heart of the hustle & bustle of Put-in-Bay.
Let the kiddos play on the playground. Pack a picnic. Enjoy the view of the water and Downtown.
8. Visit South Bass Island State Park.
Rent a kayak, boat, or jet skis from Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals. Picnic. Camp. Swim. Enjoy the water views.
9. Pick out a sweet treat at the PIB Candy Bar and hop on the adjacent Kimberly’s Carousel, one of the country’s oldest merry-go-rounds.
10. Learn about the island’s history.
Go to the top of Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial. Visit the South Bass Island Lighthouse. Peruse the exhibits at the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society.
Ready to plan your trip to PIB? 🙂 If you’re looking for places to stay while on the island, I highly recommend Put-in-Bay Resort as we had a wonderful stay and loved that the rooms were super clean and had an awesome shower, they offered continental breakfast, and if you’re looking for a pool bar, they have the Blue Marlin on site! The famous Park Hotel is the island’s oldest hotel built in the 1800s!
If a bed & breakfast is more your speed, try Ashley’s Island House or English Pines, or for a boutique hotel experience, Anchor Inn is adorable. Also, as I mentioned before, I recommend taking the Jet Express! You can sit comfortably inside or outside on the boat, they’re the only ferry to offer late night service on the weekends, and Jet Express is the quickest passenger ferry to get to Put-in-Bay.
Also, we tried our first YouTube video with some quick snippets of our trip:
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